How many times have you made a New Year’s resolution to change something big about your health, only to have it fade away after a few months? If you feel like raising your hand, you’re not alone. That’s happened to almost all of us at one time or another.
Here at GreenBlender, we truly believe the best way to make a healthy resolution that sticks is to take small steps, and keep taking those smalls steps, every day. It’s not about overhauling your entire life. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make the biggest difference – because those are the types of changes that easy to make.
In the spirit of small, healthy changes, we’re listing five of the coolest superfoods we’ve come across that have the potential to truly improve your life in 2017. After talking to your physician about them (since it’s always best to discuss these sorts of changes with your doctor), consider adding one or all of these superfoods to your dietary regime. Your muscles, skin and even waistline will thank you!
Currently of the most scientifically studied superfoods, turmeric should really be in your daily diet. Not only has it been proven to help with joint pain and even arthritis, it’s been linked to a delayed onset of Type 2 diabetes, and may even be helpful in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Whether you’re an athlete, an active person with a busy schedule, or are just simply looking for a way to lower inflammation in your body, turmeric is definitely our pick for the most helpful superfood out there.
Smoothie Recipes With Turmeric
Orange Turmeric Gumdrop
A potent anti-inflammatory, turmeric has been studied as a natural defense against everything from cancer to arthritis - it’s definitely what you could call a “superfood.” The immune boosting power of this smoothie is increased by adding orange, squash and pineapple, and walnuts bring a touch of healthy fat and protein. Start your morning off bright and cheerful, and scare those wrinkles away!
Turmeric Ginger Refresh
Turmeric and ginger have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, protecting your immune and nervous system, as well as your joints and muscles. The best way to get the full benefits of turmeric is to combine it with a bit of healthy fat, which is why we’ve included hemp seeds (full of Omega-3s and Omega-6 fatty acids). Add in a bunch of vitamin C from an orange and a few kumquats, and a creamy, healthy carb base of yellow squash (which also has vitamin A and manganese), and you’ve got a low-fat snack that does your body a whole lot of good!
Orange you glad this smoothie is coming your way? This bright orange smoothie will wake you and make you feel amazing! Turmeric is one of those awesome superfoods that doesn’t get a lot of attention. It contains curcumin, which is thought to be the primary pharmaceutical agent in the spice. It promotes anti-inflammation and may give relief to rheumatoid arthritis. The lemon and turmeric definitely add a nice zing while the sunflower seeds adds a touch of creaminess.
Carrot Mango Kiwi
Baobab has been used for centuries in Africa, but America is just discovering the powder made from this sweetly sour fruit. Like camu camu, baobab powder is one of the best sources of vitamin C in the world. It also has a healthy dose of both calcium and iron. Mango is another vitamin C powerhouse, while carrots have the beta carotene both your skin and eyes love. Turmeric is a crazy good anti-inflammatory, and avocados are full of the healthy fat we all need to stay full and satisfied.
Coconut Nectarine Refresh
This one will do what its name says--refresh! The surprising flavor combination of nectarine and coconut is brought out by the bright orange turmeric. The anti-inflammatory root is held in high regard in many cultures as a cure-all. Sneak some protein and energy in with quinoa flakes, which are easier to digest than the whole form. Pear and orange provide even more sweet, hydrating refreshment!
Native to Peru, maca root has a long history as a superfood; it’s been said that Incan warriors used it before going into battle, and although there’s no direct evidence to back that up, the way you may feel after blending some of this powerful root may help you believe it!
Three of the biggest health benefits maca has been described as providing are increased energy, increased sex drive, and hormone balancing.
While there haven’t been enough studies to scientifically substantiate these claims, the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine recently published a paper that concludes “Two RCTs [randomized clinical trials] suggested a significant positive effect of maca on sexual dysfunction or sexual desire in healthy menopausal women or healthy adult men, respectively… The further RCT assessed the effects of maca in patients with erectile dysfunction using the International Index of Erectile Dysfunction-5 and showed significant effects.” Two other studies mentioned in their paper showed no significant effects.
Maca is a great superfood to add to your smoothies if you’re looking for caffeine-free boost of energy, and a more “balanced” feeling. When adding it to smoothies, use about 1 teaspoon, until you know how it affects you.
Smoothie Recipes With Maca
Green Cinnamon Maca Madness
In addition to being full of vitamins minerals that are vital to healthy skin (vitamins C, E and essential fatty acids), maca root is also considered an “adaptogen,” which means that it works with our bodies to help us feel cool, calm and collected during stressful situations. Cinnamon and cacao are great anti-inflammatories, and since inflammation in the body is one of the biggest reasons for breakouts and blemishes, getting a daily dose of anti-inflammatory foods is the perfect natural way to create a clear complexion. The healthy fat from half an avocado, magnesium from a banana, and vitamin K from swiss chard don’t hurt either!
Chocolate Maca Malt
Maca, a root grown in the mountains of Peru, gives this smoothie a superfood boost that is matched only by its deliciousness. Rich in vitamins C and E, as well as B vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and amino acids, Maca really brings it all to the table.
A member of the cruciferous family (like broccoli and cabbage), maca root is most notably grown in Peru. In addition to having eight essential amino acids, calcium, magnesium and iron, maca is also known as an “adaptogen,” which is a category of certain herbs and plants that help our bodies adapt during stressful situations. Sunflower seed butter is a great alternative for those who are sensitive to nuts, and when you combine it with antioxidant-rich cacao and tropical coconut cream cream, you get a decadent, mineral-rich milkshake. Just the sort of thing you’d be sipping on vacation!
Maca root is found high in the Peruvian Andes in southern Peru. It is cultivated under (and prefers) the harshest of circumstances: rocky landscapes, intense winds and drastic temperature fluctuations. It’s a tough little root. Before it is ground up, maca looks like a cross between a head of garlic and a golden beet. It is known for having a healthy dose of Vitamin B1 and B2 and may even increase your libido.
Just because flax has been around for ages and isn’t exotic, that doesn’t make it any less vital to a balanced diet. In fact, it could vary well save your life.
Not only has flaxseed been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, it also has a large amount of antioxidants called lignans per serving. Lignans have been scientifically studied for their cancer-fighting properties, as well as for possibly helping balance hormones.
Flaxseed is also a great form of both soluble and insoluble fiber, which means that it’s beneficial to daily energy and weight loss.
The best part about flax is that it’s extremely versatile! Sprinkle it on your oatmeal, in your granola, on top of cereal or yogurt, or combine a nice big tablespoon in your smoothie!
Smoothie Recipes With Flaxseed
Because of its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, hibiscus (a flower that is common in both tropical and subtropical climates) has been connected to lowered blood pressure and lowered cholesterol. Cranberries, cucumber and mint are also great anti-inflammatory agents, which means this low calorie smoothie is perfect for active lifestyles. And thanks to the fiber from an apple, collards and flaxseed, you’ll feel full and satisfied for hours after drinking!
Earl Grey Kiwi
In addition to improving digestion and immune function, Earl Grey tea is often used as a natural mood stabilizer. That’s because bergamot, a citrus variety that’s included in dry Earl Grey tea leaves, has been shown to ease stress and anxiety. Omega-3, which is plentiful in flaxseed, has also been connected to enhanced emotional well being. Combine these two mood-boosting superfoods with calming mint, and energizing vitamin C from kiwis, a pear, and collard greens, and you have the perfect smoothie to get your day started on a positive note.
Blueberry Coconut Basil
A variety of summer squash categorized by its small size and scalloped edges, patty pan squash is a great source of vitamins C and A, as well as magnesium. When you combine its light flavor with blueberries (fiber, potassium, folate), basil (vitamin K and manganese) and coconut cream (iron, calcium, magnesium), you get a distinctly “I’m at the beach and relaxing” sensation. Add in a vitamin C-rich plum, and Omega 3-rich flaxseed, and you’ve got a sweet (yet low sugar) mini vacation in a glass.
Calming Apricot Chamomile
Apricot season is quite short — the end of May through mid-July — which means you should eat these high-fiber, beta-carotene infused fruits while you can! This smoothie, which is perfect for those quiet moments before or after a big day, also includes chamomile, a mild relaxant and sleep aid. Because of its serving of Omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseed is another great way to relax your muscles.
Persimmon Pineapple Protein
Originally native to China, persimmons are now grown all over the world. Known as “nature’s candy,” persimmons have a sweet, almost honey-like flavor, and are full of vitamin C (one little fruit has almost 80 percent of your recommended daily allowance). Flax is one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world, and flaxseeds are a rich source of Omega-3s. Pea protein rounds out this sweet, immune-boosting smoothie, blending seamlessly while providing plant-based protein that our bodies need to keep going from morning till night.
If you have a sweet tooth, lucuma is the superfood you need in your life. Native to Peru and sometimes referred to as “the gold of the Incas,” lucuma provides a delicate, caramel-like sweetness while still sitting low on the glycemic index.
In addition to fiber, lucuma contains iron, beta-carotene, and zinc. It’s also be shown to help with wound healing and skin regeneration.
Jazz up your smoothies and baked goods with nature’s alternative sweetener!
Smoothie Recipes With Lucuma
Maple Cranberry Tart
Lucuma is a Peruvian superfruit that has a luscious caramel taste, as well as iron, zinc and calcium. The vitamin C in this smoothie comes from cranberries (which also provide fiber and vitamin E, but very low amounts of sugar). Studies have recently linked daily consumption of apples to increased cognitive health, and they provide fiber and vitamin C as well. Top this sweet treat off with some maple syrup (which has iron, zinc and manganese), and you have a great way to curb cravings any time of day.
Blueberry Banana Oatmeal
It’s still a bit too hot to send the kids off to school (or yourself off to work) with a bowl of healthy oatmeal, so we’ve created the next best thing -- a nutrient-dense smoothie with all the cholesterol-lowering benefits of rolled oats, the healthy brain and skin benefits of blueberries, the potassium and magnesium of banana, the good fats and vitamin E of walnuts, the fiber of lucuma (a natural sweetener), and the vitamins A and C of collard greens. Not only will this drink keep you satisfied like oatmeal, you’ll get a few servings of fruit and vegetables to boot!
Strawberry Carrot Creamsicle
A sweet Peruvian fruit that is often sold in powdered form, lucuma ranks low on the glycemic scale, which means it's a perfect natural sweetener for people who are trying to watch their sugar intake. Hemp seeds have both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as the nine essential amino acids our bodies do not produce on their own. Combine these two superfoods with sweet strawberries (vitamin C, folate and potassium), crunchy carrots (beta carotene, fiber and vitamin A), and the natural energy of a banana (fiber and beta-carotene), and you have a fruity, refreshing alternative to ice cream or pie.
Hemp seeds are known as a “perfect protein,” which means they not only contain all 20 amino acids, but the nine essential amino acids our bodies need to function properly. They also contain both Omega-3 fatty acids (which have been shown to benefit the heart), and Omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to more balanced hormones.
Additionally, these tiny, tasteless seeds contain fiber, iron and magnesium.
If you’re looking for a way to add protein, healthy fat and fiber to your daily smoothie, adding a tablespoon of hemp seeds is a great way to do it!
Smoothie Recipes With Hemp Seeds
Honey Lime Refresh
In addition to fiber and potassium, honeydew melon is full of vitamin C (one cup provides about 34% of our daily needs). It’s also the perfect base for smoothies, as its delicate sweetness combines well with most other fruits and vegetables. The juice from a lime increases the vitamin C content, while a pear increases the fiber. Add in some stomach soothing mint, iron and vitamin K from kale, and “perfect protein’ in the form of hemp seeds, and you have a low calorie, low fat snack that will keep you satisfied for hours.
Golden Ginger Beet
Slightly less “earthy” tasting than red beets, golden beets are full of fiber, iron and potassium. Beets themselves are great for sore muscles, and keep green smoothies tasting sweet. Golden berries contain calcium and metabolism-boosting B-complex vitamins, and ginger is a fantastic anti-inflammatory. The potent vitamin C from both a lemon and orange, plus the healthy fat, protein and fiber from hemp seed, make this the perfect light meal replacement for a busy morning. Drink this instead of your usual orange juice, and instantly feel energized!
Keeping your blood sugar in check is one of the best ways to make sure your energy and mood stay balanced. Lowering the amount of processed sugar you consume, and increasing fiber intake, are two great ways to massage your body’s equilibrium. Not only is this smoothie low in calories, it’s also quite low in sugar, and thanks to the hemp seed, provides your body with metabolism-boosting essential amino acids. There’s also that necessary fiber, plus a mild sweetness and complexion-loving beta carotene from a persimmon.
Maqui Apple Cleanse
One of the top food sources of antioxidants, maqui berry is a great addition to this low calorie, cleansing smoothie. If your body is feeling a little sluggish, this drink is the perfect pick-me-up, thanks to the energizing healthy fat and protein from hemp seed, the satisfying fiber from squash and applesauce, and a second healthy dose of antioxidants from grapes.